Person taking photo of car tracks

Staying Authentic in a World of Stock Photography


The other day on Content Marketing Institute’s website, I came across an interesting article — “Say No to Stock Photography and Create Authentic Images.” It raised a discussion about the importance of authenticity in a client’s photography, especially when it comes to adding value to advertising.

We live in a world where an image from Google or a photo from iStock is just a few clicks away. However, this often takes away from the process of creating an advertisement that’s supposed to give an authentic perspective of a company’s vision.

“Don’t be tempted by cheap and easy,” says the Content Marketing Institute’s Buddy Scalera. He encourages marketing professionals to sit down and look at their clients’ websites. Is there a cliché picture of someone smiling and talking on a headset? A photograph like this is a clear violation of the principles of content marketing. However, Scalera tells us that this violation can be fixed relatively easily. Consider these tips:

  • Authenticity is key. You want the faces of your client’s company to replace stock photography. This makes the content more real and portrays your client’s brand in its natural light. Users can relate better to real photography.

    Further, as content-marketing expert Arnie Kuenn points out in “Visual Content Marketing on 3 Major Networks: Ideas and Inspiration,” real photographs humanize your brand

    “People like to connect with other people, so sharing photos of your staff on Instagram can also go a long way toward humanizing your brand,” Kuenn says. “Consider bringing your audience into the fold by sharing photos of a different employee once a week. … You can also take photos and videos of staff having fun at company retreats, meetings or other events to illustrate the positive influence your company has on their lives outside of the office.”

  • DIY! Taking photos with your smartphone is almost as easy as downloading a stock photo to your desktop. Sure, they might not look as professional as stock photos, but they’re authentic. The DIY approach can be great for social media posts.
  • Work with a professional photographer. When using the proper photography equipment, a photographer can capture a client’s brand or product in its best light. Your clients hire you when they want professional advertising; therefore, when it’s necessary, you should hire a trained photographer to create authentic results for your client.

With these helpful tips, creating authentic and genuine content for clients is just a few steps away, giving you the power to create powerful imagery for content marketing that can be used across multiple platforms. Start today — close the stock-photo website, pick up your camera, and have some fun capturing the essence of your brand.